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182                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
had been established some years before. He states that
its inhabitants " get their living by trade and handicrafts,
for-they weave many kinds of beautiful and valuable stuffs
of silk' and gold. The city has such a good position
that merchandize is brought thither from India, Baudas
(Baghdad) and Cremesor (the Garmsir orc Hot Country')
.'Ľand "many other regions, and that attracts many Latin
merchants, especially Genoese, to buy goods and transact
other business there." Marco Polo incorrectly describes
Tabriz as being in the province of Irak, and equally
incorrectly supposes it to be outside Persia. cc Persia," he
says, "is a great country which was in old times very
illustrious and powerful; but now the Tartars have
wasted and destroyed it." The next city mentioned is
Saba, now Sava, from which, owing to the resemblance
of its name to Sheba, the three Magi were supposed to
have set out to worship the new-born Saviour.1
Marco Polo, believing that he had entered Persia at
Sava, describes the country as divided into eight kingdoms,
a wholly inaccurate division, which does not call for further
notice. He refers to the fine horses and the " finest asses
in the world," and goes on to say, " In the cities there
are traders and artisans who live by their labour and
crafts, weaving cloths of gold, and silk stuffs of sundry
kinds. They have plenty of cotton produced in the
country ; and abundance of wheat, barley, millet, panicle,
and wine, with fruits of all kinds."
From Saba the Venetian visited Kashan, still famous
for its velvets and silks, and from this important com-
mercial centre he marched south-east to Yezd. From
Yezd to Kerman there are two routes, by both of which I
have travelled, and I have identified the more easterly of
the two, via Bafk, as that traversed by the Venetian and
his companions. Not only are there date palms to-day
at Bafk, as mentioned by Marco Polo, but the altitude
of the alternative route is too high for dates to grow
there. Kerman, which was twice or even three times
visited, is described at greater length than any other city
^ * Isaiah Ix. 6 runs, " The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of
Midian and Ephah 5 all they from Sheba shall come : they shall bring gold and incense;
and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord."